Friday, October 22, 2010

Orca Baby!

New killer whale calf appears in Puget Sound

From Christopher Dunagan of the Kitsap Sun:

The birth was reported by observers with the Center for Whale Research, who spotted the baby Wednesday off the south end of San Juan Island. The newborn has been designated L-116, the next available number for L pod.

The calf is believed to be the first offspring of L-82, born in 1990. The newborn appears to be less than a week old, and researchers say the calf appears healthy.

This is the third calf born into L pod this year. The first, L-114, did not survive more than a few days. The second, L-115, was born in August and still appears healthy. Both L-115 and L-116 and their mothers are in the same subgroup that has been traveling together. The new calf brings the total for the three Southern Resident pods to 90.

Meanwhile, a large number of killer whales was reported Thursday traveling through Puget Sound. They were seen from the Kingston and Bremerton ferries as well as from Blake Island and West Seattle. They were identified as Southern Residents.

At this time of year, orcas are seen more frequently in Central and South Puget Sound as they switch from foraging for chinook salmon, their primary prey in the San Juan Islands, to the more abundant chum salmon coming back to streams throughout Puget Sound.

In other orca-related news, Puget Sound kayak guide Martine Springer of Sea Quest Expeditions recently added her voice to Working Snake River for Washington.  Here's a clip:

"Imagine yourself in a kayak flowing down a broad ribbon of blue water. Surrounding you are more islands than you can count, and in the distance, you see snow-capped mountain peaks. Your flotilla of companions rounds a headland crowned by an old lighthouse, and suddenly, they appear."

Read more at Working Snake River for Washington.

For more information on the orca / salmon connection, check out this great video.
Also check out our great partners on this issue:
Center for Whale Research -- Orca Network -- People for Puget Sound

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